20. February 2024 · Comments Off on Civic Action Tapback – February 20, 2024 · Categories: Announcements


One of the most basic — and ridiculous — lines from trickle-downers is the idea that what’s good for rich people is good for everyone, and that what’s good for working people is actually bad for everyone. Thus we regularly read that good news is bad news, bad news is good news…and now, in a groundbreaking new effort at financial absurdity: recessions are good for you. No joke: that’s what Tyler Cowen writes in Bloomberg, citing a new study that supposedly finds that “The Great Recession provided one in twenty-five 55-year-olds with an extra year of life.” 

Cowen speculates that maybe this finding resulted from that fact that “some people who lose their jobs might be able to spend more time exercising,” or have “less money to spend on alcohol or other drugs,” or something. And while that may sound entirely ridiculous, keep in mind that this is not a new topic for this author — in fact, back during the recession itself, this very same guy was already musing about how actually recessions are kinda good . And yet despite all this Very Deep Thinking, somehow he entirely leaves out the fact that a very big and very relevant thing happened during the Great Recession: the roll-out of expanded healthcare access under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. But regardless, until Cowen takes the next step and prescribes less money, fewer jobs, and more unemployment for economic commentators and rich people , it’s safe to say that maybe he’s not as convinced of his theory as he indicates…even though he’s been getting paid to write this nonsense for 15 years!

Make it make sense.

was handed over to scammers by a personal finance columnist who has for years provided money and budget advice in prominent publications. The victim reports she believed she was giving the cash to the CIA as part of an identity theft investigation, and that they would give her a Treasury check for the same amount the shoebox held.

ago, scientific experts working in the plastics industry determined that recycling plastics wasn’t viable. But major plastics makers continued to tout recycling — even printing recycling symbols on effectively non-recyclable products — as part of a largely successful effort to avoid other forms of regulation of their waste production.

will be the minimum wage effective July 1st for large employers in the Seattle suburb of Renton, Washington . Voters there passed a ballot initiative last week which sets one of the highest pay floors in the nation.

Once considered a form of “welfare,” Medicaid was expanded under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act to cover a dramatically larger proportion of people than it covered before. While some Republican governors have tried to make it a badge of political honor to reject providing more people health coverage, Medicaid expansion has won every time it’s gone to the ballot — even in conservative states, and often by large margins.

Now it appears the growing reach of Medicaid is increasingly its political durability. As the chart below from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows, more than three-quarters of Americans have a favorable or very favorable view of Medicaid, including almost two-thirds of Republicans. Likely a key piece of the reason for this remarkably positive public assessment: Kaiser also found that two-thirds of adults in the U.S. say they have had some connection to the Medicaid program. And while that might be an indictment of the US private health insurance market, it’s also a vote of confidence in the idea that government can in fact do its job — when the politicians allow it.

The prices of publicly-traded stocks can gyrate dramatically when quarterly earnings reports come in, as investors process key reported metrics, make projections about how that data will affect future earnings, and digest trends captured in earnings announcements . Computerized trading plays a role too, as algorithms digest reports as quickly as possible in an effort to get ahead of the rest of the market when news breaks.

So when Lyft’s official earnings report included forecast that a key earnings metric would rise 5% over the year ahead , the response was swift. Almost immediately after that announcement was out on the wire, Lyft’s stock shot up 62%, creating millions and millions of dollars of paper profits for stockholders. But the party was over just five minutes later, when the company reported the dramatic jump in that key figure was a typo, and the actual anticipated increase was not 5%, but 0.5% . It’s all a good reminder of how many little glitches there seem to be in that old-fashioned neoliberal assumption that markets are naturally efficient systems incapable of error.

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